The Guardian • Issue #2089

Palestine: no let-up in genocide

Palestinian mother and child at protest.

Photo: Brahim Guedich – flickr.com (CC BY-SA 4.0).

More than 35,000 innocent Palestinians have been slaughtered by Israel’s US-funded, military machine and more than one million people driven south to Rafah on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.

Yet, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continues to support Israel and express “concern,” when tens of thousands of defenceless Palestinians – innocent children, women, and men – continue to be slaughtered and many more injured.

Israel continues to deny the people of Gaza water, food, medical supplies, and electricity. Children are dying of malnutrition and starvation. Housing, hospitals, schools, mosques, and other infrastructure have been destroyed. These are crimes against humanity. The International Court of Justice has found the case of genocide is plausible.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said, speaking at a recent African Union summit in Ethiopia.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army, and women and children.”

Palestinians are human beings, not “animals” as one Israeli minister has called them.

UNRWA, the UN humanitarian agency, reports that it has been unable to deliver food to northern Gaza since 23 January.

Australia and 17 other countries have suspended their funding of UNRWA. They have blood on their hands – the same Palestinian blood lubricating the profits of the arms manufacturers, after Israel alleged, without providing any evidence, that 12 of its staff were involved in the Hamas attack on Israel. This collective punishment is illegal under international law.

Taking a principled stand against genocide and displacement is not antisemitic.

The Australian government, kowtowing to its masters in Washington, is turning a blind eye to the genocide.

ISRAELI PLAN

At the time of writing, Israeli negotiators are about to arrive in Qatar for talks around a pause.

But before the talks even began Netanyahu declared that its military would invade Rafah, regardless of any deal to free some of the 130 remaining hostages held by Hamas.

The Israeli army is constructing a wide road across central Gaza in parallel with an existing road. It brings a new meaning to the original Palestinian slogan ‘from the river to the sea’ – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the process it is destroying houses and anything else blocking its path. Israeli authorities claim it is to facilitate its military operations, part of its plans to maintain security control over the strip.

The road would create a divide between northern Gaza and the rest of the strip with north-south crossing points that would be guarded. Whether a wall will be built is not known but it does raise the question: Is Israel planning to partition Gaza, not allowing a return to the north and thus denying Gaza access to its offshore gas resources? Or is it to make more land available for settlements? We can only speculate.

Israel military already controls major north-south roads in Gaza.

According to Israeli officials, 150,000-200,000 Gazans are still living in Gaza City, north of the new road, a fraction of its pre-war population of 1.2 million. Fighting there is intense.

Israel is also building a wall inside Gaza’s border with Israel as a 1 km buffer zone, where Palestinians would be barred from entry.

It has set a deadline of March 10, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins for Hamas to release hostages or else it will launch a military operation in Rafah where more than a million Palestinian civilians are crammed.

In fact, Israel has not waited until then, bombing of Rafah has already commenced.

US president Biden hypocritically describes Israel’s assault as “over the top,” while pushing for $15 billion more in military aid to be supplied to Israel – two-thirds of it for offensive weapons. That is 15 times more than he wants for humanitarian aid for Palestinian

The US has vetoed all resolutions before the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire and has voted against those that went before the General Assembly.

Egypt is standing firm, refusing to allow humanitarian corridors into Egypt or let Palestinians flee to the Sinai. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said to do so would “liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who said displacing Gazans to Egypt would be “catastrophic” for both Egypt and the Palestinians, who, he indicated, would likely not be allowed to return.

Clearing the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem of Palestinians is consistent with the Zionist plan for a Greater Israel.

Israel has approved another 3,344 illegal settler homes in the occupied West Bank since 7 October. There are already 750,000 settlers there. East Jerusalem NGO Ir Amin says the demolition of Palestinian houses in the city has also been stepped up. Homes are being bulldozed and Palestinians driven off their land by armed settlers and soldiers.

Under UN resolutions, Gaza, the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem should be the basis of a two state-solution, but each day of Israel’s war on women and children makes this more difficult.

Leading figures in the Israeli government have made it clear that there will not be a Palestinian state.

ACT NOW!

Write to Albanese, Wong, your local MP and Senators. Demand they:

  • Reinstate and increase funding for UNWRA
  • Cease military and other support for Israel
  • Support the South Africa’s genocide case in the ICJ
  • Impose economic sanctions on Israel
  • Expel Israel’s diplomatic representatives
  • Withdraw Australia’s diplomats from Israel.

Australian people did support apartheid South Africa. They should not support genocidal, apartheid Israel.


 

Israel ignores international court order

Israel has failed to comply with an International Court of Justice (ICJ) order to provide urgently needed aid to Gaza, instead intensifying its brutal military campaign, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.

A quarter of the Palestinian territory’s 2.3 million people are currently facing starvation amid Israel’s ongoing war, with an average of just 57 aid lorries entering the region daily in the past month.

The United Nations has said that around 500 daily deliveries are needed to address the situation.

Last month, the top UN court responded to a South African petition by ordering Israel to do all it could to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide.

The ICJ ordered Israel to take six provisional steps, including “immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

Israel was also ordered to submit a report within a month on what it was doing to implement the measures.

Today marked a month since the court’s orders were issued and it was not immediately clear whether Israel had handed in such a report.

HRW said Israel was not complying with the court’s order on aid provision, citing a 30 per cent drop in the daily average number of aid lorries entering Gaza in the weeks following the ruling.

The human rights group added that Israel was not adequately facilitating fuel deliveries to hard-hit northern Gaza and blamed Tel Aviv for blocking aid from reaching the north, where the World Food Programme said last week that it had been forced to suspend aid deliveries because of increasing chaos in the isolated part of the territory.

HRW Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir said: “The Israeli government has simply ignored the court’s ruling and in some ways even intensified its repression, including further blocking lifesaving aid.”

Morning Star

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